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You'll Never Walk Alone — Members march on Arts Council England

Hundreds of our activists and culture workers marched on Arts Council England (ACE) offices in London and Manchester, to demand the reversal of devastating cuts to organisations across the UK.

Audio artists deserve decent pay

UK arts organisations such as the English National Opera, Oldham Coliseum, The Watermill, The Gate, Donmar Warehouse, Hampstead Theatre and Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme are amongst those that face losses of up to 100% of their funding, in a move by ACE last week which shocked the industry.

Equity’s General Secretary, Paul W Fleming, called on ACE to rethink the "poorly conceived assault on the workforce" in letters hand delivered to the Chief Executive and North Area Director. Read the letters:

ACE letters

Equity to ACE Darren Henley - 14 Nov 2022

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Equity to ACE Northern Area - 14 Nov 2022

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Equity to ACE - Donmar and Hampstead - 14 Nov 2022

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Addressing the crowd outside ACE’s office, Paul stated:

Levelling-up is the lipstick on the pig of austerity. Our industries have sustained almost half a billion pounds worth of cuts since 2005 and what they now want to tells us is by taking money out of London there will be some richly deserved rewards somewhere else in the UK. Well, at noon today we have members outside the Arts Council offices in Manchester saying 100% cuts to the Oldham Coliseum is as unacceptable as a cut to the ENO.

There is no hypocrisy or ambiguity in our message. Cuts are wrong. They are economically illiterate and they are morally inexcusable. It is not okay. It is not okay to wave a banner about how opera is an elitist art form whilst taking away good quality, safe jobs that are accessible to working class people from every background…

Following Paul’s speech ENO chorus members led a moving rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ which you can catch it on our Instagram.

The Manchester event was covered by media such as ITV News, BBC Radio Manchester (from 1:10:00) and the Oldham Chronicle, while the London event appeared on Classic FM, The Stage and The Guardian.

Online, our members took to social media in droves to defend the institutions affected by the announcements, including actress Maxine Peake who called on followers to save Oldham Coliseum:

Want to get involved?

Sign and share this petition to reinstate the ENO’s funding.

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